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Hero Banner: CIO Interview

CIO Interview: A digital mission for social impact

Podcast host Karen Dumville | Podcast guest Andy Rhodes, CIO, UNICEF USA
September 28, 2021 | 28 min 57 sec

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Brief summary

UNICEF USA implemented a technology strategy to create a consistent donor experience and put the supporter at the center of their operations. Their technology work meant that during a crisis like COVID, the nonprofit could quickly adapt their operations, workforce and donor relations. Andy Rhodes, CIO for UNICEF USA, shares details of their digital journey, how it has helped increase their social impact and tips for executives leading transformation efforts.


Episode Highlights


  • Creating a consistent donor experience. UNICEF USA created a strategy to become a supporter-centric organization, putting the supporter at the center of the way they engage with them, and allowing them to engage on their terms. An internal resetting of priorities and operations has helped align around the strategic plan and understand where technology is going to help fuel that strategic plan.
  • Changing the dynamic of the workplace. UNICEF USA created a technology infrastructure that enabled fundraisers to be out in the field talking to donors and advocates in the field working with supporters. 
  • The biggest challenges are the organizational change. Driving organizational change is probably the most important success factor. There are going to be new roles and new capabilities required. 
  • Working in the nonprofit world. Not-for-profits have to be nimble and savvy and find ways to fund investments through savings in other places. The business case for investment in technology has to be really well thought through. When we have to make a difficult decision, the number one thing we're going to use, and the number one criteria is are we doing the best thing for the kids?
  • Establish as an organization your north star. Be clear on what it is you're trying to achieve, why you're doing it and what the measures of success. Don't underestimate the change management work, and that should be a track in and of itself in a transformational project.
  • Moving beyond just measuring numbers, the number of donors, or the number of supporters but what is the impact of that? How many kids lives have we changed, for example, or how have we changed kids' lives in the US and around the world. That's where we'll spend a lot of time and we'll be able to really show the value of making the investments that we've done..
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